The Nature of Man -- No Inherent
Immortality -- The Need of Salvation From Death -- The Covenant
in Eden -- The Seed of The Serpent -- The Seed of The Woman --
The Devil and Satan -- Hell -- The Covenants To Abraham and David
-- Relation of Covenants To The Kingdom of God -- The Kingdom
of Men and The Kingdom of God -- The Approaching Time for The
Kingdom -- Zionism A Sign -- What Does God Require Of Man?
As the primitive glory of
the ancient cities of the past has become covered over by the
rubbish of centuries until their original form has become distorted
or altogether hidden, so it is with ancient Christianity. The
primitive beauty and simplicity of the gospel of Jesus and his
fishermen disciples became buried under elaborate ritual and
ceremonies which were often transferred from pagan rites.
The "dark ages" effectually buried for centuries all
Bible knowledge, ignorant and superstitious priests perpetuated
image and relic worship, so that Christianity was as effectually
buried as the cities of Assyria and Babylon.
The work of the Reformation, followed later by the French Revolution,
resulted in the establishment of democratic freedom of thought
and religious worship, and facilitated Bible reading and study
among the common people. Thus although this freedom resulted
in a multiplicity of religious sects, so much deplored by Rome,
it resulted also in an increase in Bible knowledge.
But this uncovering of the riches of wisdom and understanding
has only been partial, as we have endeavoured to show. And like
partial excavation, which reveals some only of the hidden city,
its finds have been a mixture of truth and error.
The Liberalism of the Church of England is far in advance of
Papal darkness and thraldom; but it is not far enough. There
are other considerations which discourage complete liberty of
search and investigation. Men might find that episcopal palaces
for bishops, "benefices" and "callings" for
others, were all a wicked imposition. Thus, enough has been excavated
for the liking of the clergy; enough to excuse them throwing
over Rome; but more research and digging on the part of the laity
is discouraged lest the result would cause men to throw them
over also. Thus they jealously guard this preserve of Bible exposition
which they regard as peculiarly their own, maintaining that educational
attainments and scholarship are vitally necessary for a right
understanding of Bible exposition.
Some, however, undeterred by their learned opposition and discouraging
frowns, have gone direct to the only source of the knowledge
of God and have dug therein as for hidden treasure. What they
have found is strangely at variance with the findings of these
clerical archaeologists. In company with others we have been
to this buried city of Bible Truth and have been so bold as to
take pick and spade with us to find what the Church still left
uncovered or covered again lest others should find. We are going
to lay before you the great things we have found, that you too
may examine them. This is most important, for you will have seen
the foolishness already imposed by the councils and decrees of
the Church when unsupported by scriptural evidences. We are going
to the site itself to show you the exhibits. The verdict will
be left to you.
The pagan world was revolutionised and "turned upside down"
in early Christian days by "unlearned and ignorant"
men. It was the learned who again brought it into bondage and
darkness, often for their own behoof. True Christians living
in this modern age, likewise unlearned in the teaching of the
schools and seminaries, but learned by much reading and study
in the wisdom which is from above, undertake to expose the foolishness
of the learned and of their traditions, which have made of none
effect the Word of God.
This subject -- the true teaching of the Bible -- is one upon
which we could write at indefinite length. But we remember that
we write for modern readers, and modern readers, however much
we may deplore the fact, are intolerant of long books. In the
hope that this present effort may encourage you to further and
more exhaustive reading concerning Bible doctrines, we shall
bear your prejudices in mind and be as brief as the claims of
clarity will allow.
THEME OF THE BIBLE
The theme of the Bible is grand and majestic. It is a revelation
to man of the attributes and purposes of God. This is its uniqueness,
for no other source of this knowledge can be found among all
the literature of the world. Not even the evidences of a supreme
designer found in the world of nature testify to the attributes
of the great "first cause," nor reveal the final purpose
of the thing designed. It is in the Bible alone that the Creator
and Sustainer of the universe proclaims that He "ordered"
the earth in all its manifold riches and wonders as a habitation
"The heaven, even the
heavens are the Lord's: but the earth hath He given to the children
of men." (Ps. 115:16)
"For thus saith the Lord that created the heavens; God Himself
that formed the earth and made it; He hath established it. He
created it not in vain, He formed it to be inhabited." (Isa.
"Thou are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and
power: for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure
they are and were created." (Rev. 4:11)
But even this world of beauty
and of wonder was not to be the final state. In due time and
in process of time the earth is to "be full of the knowledge
of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea," the
desert is to "blossom as the rose," the "leopard
shall lie down with the kid," "nation shall not lift
up sword against nation," and eventually "the last
enemy that shall be destroyed is death." Though the Church
has decreed that at some future time the earth will provide the
fuel for a huge bonfire, God has declared otherwise.
Now this complex, living world was not created as a static order
of things. God's arrangement permitted to man a freedom of choice
between obeying and serving Him, and disobeying and ignoring
Him. When Adam in the exercise of this free will brought evil
into the good, and through disobedience brought death, God set
before him a divine plan whereby he might ascend to the divine
nature of incorruptibility.
"By one man sin entered
into the world and DEATH BY SIN, and so death passed upon all
men, for that all have sinned." (Rom. 5:12.)
"For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection
of the dead. For as in ADAM ALL DIE, even so IN CHRIST SHALL
ALL BE MADE ALIVE." (1 Cor. 15:21-22)
"We look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who SHALL
CHANGE OUR VILE BODY, that it may be f ashioned LIKE UNTO HIS
GLORIOUS BODY, according to the working whereby he is able even
to subdue all things unto himself." (Phil. 3:20-21)
It is the knowledge of this
Divine Plan and the hope of becoming partakers thereof that is
the "pearl of great price" for which a man will "sell
all that he hath and buy."
OUR SEARCH FOR GOD
In our search for the whole counsel of God we cannot -- must
not -- ignore any portion as being unnecessary or redundant,
mythical or legendary. How imprudent of the archaeologist to
ignore any stratum and its evidence, positive or negative. The
exposition in Chapter II set forth the evidence for believing
implicitly in the historical truth of the early books of the
Bible -- a truth corroborated by the spade of the archaeologist.
Chapter III set forth the claim for the Divine inspiration of'the
record and proved it through the evidence of fulfilled prophecy.
The word of God is therefore a wholly infallible guide: unique
in its origin; alone in its proclamation of "the end from
the beginning." We believe, then, in Genesis I as we believe
in Rev. 22, and we appeal to all scripture in our search for
a knowledge of God and of His purpose with man.
"Canst thou by searching
find out God?" This is the question addressed by Zophar
to Job, and in a measure we have answered it. In the realm of
nature we find His power: "Thou sendest forth thy spirit,
they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth,"
but we cannot find God. In the world of human philosophy we find
speculation, but we cannot find God. In the Bible He reveals
Himself -- "the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise
the simple," "the entrance of thy word giveth light;
it giveth understanding unto the simple." It is of the utmost
importance that we know this testimony, and gain understanding
therefrom, for it is Jesus who says "This is life eternal,
that they might KNOW THEE THE ONLY TRUE GOD, and Jesus Christ
whom thou hast sent." (John 17:3) It requires but little
delving into God's testimonies to find many declarations concerning
Himself: but even so we shall find that modern Christians, like
the ancient Athenians, ignorantly worship Him, and like the Pharisees
have made the word of God of none effect through their traditions;
for God has declared of Himself:
"Hear, O Israel, the
Lord our God is one Lord." (Deut. 6:4)
Nor is there any variation
of or addition to this testimony of Himself throughout His revelation
to man. Centuries later the prophet Isaiah was inspired to write:
"I am the Lord and THERE
IS NONE ELSE, there is no God beside me." (Isa. 45:5)
Israel so believed and worshipped:
and when the successive sway of Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece
gave way to that of Rome, we find Jesus proclaiming to his countrymen:
"Hear, 0 Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord." At
no time during his ministry does he testify otherwise. Moreover,
his testimony is clear and emphatic in establishing the relationship
between himself and God. This relationship was enunciated by
the angel to Mary in the words, "He shall be called the
Son of the Highest" (Luke 1:32), and repeated by Christ
himself when he said "I am the Son of God" (John 10:36);
and when Peter testified -- in answer to the question, "whom
say ye that I am" -- "Thou art the Christ, the Son
of the living God", Jesus replied, "Blessed art thou,
Simon Bar-jona, for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto
thee, but my Father which is in heaven" (Matt. 16:17). It
is relevant and pertinent to ask why that church which is supposed
to be founded on Peter should proclaim otherwise. If this same
question were asked of a Roman Catholic, would he answer as Peter
did or would he not rather proclaim, "Thou art Christ, God
the Son"? He must indeed answer thus lest he "without
doubt be eternally damned" by his church.
THE FATHER AND THE
Jesus was born that he might "bear witness to the truth,"
and that witness includes a definition of his relationship to
God -- a relationship which is found in our common understanding
of the term "father" and the term "son."
The term "son" implies a beginning -- a period of non-existence
in actuality (though not necessarily of intention). And so "the
birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise" -- "The Holy
Spirit shall come upon thee (Mary), and the power of the Highest
shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall
be born of thee shall be called the Son of God." (Luke 1:35.)
Before this birth Jesus had not existed except in the mind of
the Father. When we read in Gen. 1:26, the words, "Let us
make man in our image," we are not reading the declaration
of two equal gods, nor yet of three, but, as we shall show later,
of a multitude of mighty ones; and when we read in Dan. 3:25,
the exclamation of Nebuchadnezzar, "Lo, I see four men loose
. . . and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God,"
we are not reading a divinely inspired message given through
the lips of a pagan king relative to Christ, but a faulty translation
of the original. This is corrected in the Revised Version in
the words "and the form of the fourth is like a son of the
gods." It will be more convenient to deal later with passages
from the New Testament sometimes quoted by those who maintain
the doctrine of the pre-existence of Christ, and to continue
now with those sayings of Jesus which establish his position
as the son -- the beloved son -- the only beloved son of God,
and contradict that which is implied in the appellation "God
the Son." Jesus said:
"I can of mine own self
do nothing." (John 5:30)
"My Father is GREATER than I" (John 14 28)
"The Father which SENT me." (John 12:49)
"I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and to my God
and your God." (John 20:17)
There is here no claim to
equality in power, just as in the former statements there was
no claim to equality of existence.
Do we then maintain, as some do, that Christ was but as we are?
On the contrary, we would point to the record of the manner of
his birth as proving a difference. We are born of the will of
the flesh and of an earthly father; he was born of the will of
God and through the operation of the power of God. Though he
could be "in all points tempted like as we are," he
was found "without sin." This cannot be said of any
one of us, for John writes, "If we say that we have no sin,
we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." (1 John
1:8) There was found in Christ one whose character was divine,
for "He did no sin neither was guile found in his mouth,"
and he was "holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners."
As a beloved son of perfect character he could say, "I and
my Father are one." (John 10:30) But this "oneness"
was asserted prospectively of the disciples. Jesus prayed that
"they all may be one; as thou Father art in me and I in
thee, that they also may be one in us." (John 17:21) It
was never asserted of co-equality, or co-eternity, as the above
testimonies show. If it should be contended that the oneness
of Christ and the Father does imply co-equality and co-eternity
it must be conceded also of the disciples.
How did the apostles understand and preach the "Only true
God and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent."? Peter certainly
could not endorse the Trinitarian doctrine, for he says, "Ye
men of Israel, hear these words, Jesus of Nazareth, a MAN APPROVED
of God, . . . whom God HATH RAISED UP." (Acts 2:22-4) Paul
preached "For though there be that are called gods . . .
to us there is but ONE GOD, THE FATHER, of whom are all things
and we in him; and ONE LORD JESUS CHRIST, by whom are all things
and we by him." (1 Cor. 8:6) And again:
"There is ONE GOD, and
ONE MEDIATOR between God and men, THE MAN CHRIST JESUS."
(1 Tim. 2:5)
"One Lord, one faith,
one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and
through all and in you all." (Eph. 4:5-6)
"When all things shall
be subdued unto him, then shall THE SON also himself BE SUBJECT
unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in
all." (1 Cor. 15:28)
THE TRINITY NOT A BIBLE
If we would find any reference to or enunciation of the doctrine
of the Trinity -- so widely accepted in Christendom today --
we must seek elsewhere, for the Bible is silent. Even Trinitarians
will admit this:
"It must be allowed that
there is no such proposition as this, that one and the same God
is three different persons, formally and in terms to be found
in the Sacred Writings, either of the Old or New Testament; neither
is it pretended that there is any word of the same significance
or importance with the word Trinity used in Scripture with relation
to God." (Dr. South -- "Considerations on the Trinity,"
If we delve into the religious
beliefs of Egypt we can certainly find trinities of gods. The
Vedas of India affirm that Agni, Indra, and Surya are three gods,
who are yet one god. The Greek philosopher, Plato, "marvellously
anticipated one of the most surprising discoveries of the Christian
revelation" (Gibbon, "Decline and Fall") and "St.
Augustine confesses that he was in the dark about the Trinity
until he read some Platonic writings which the providence of
God 'had thrown in his way'." (Collected Charges, p. 130).
It was indeed providential for the fourth century Trinitarians
that four centuries before Christ a Greek philosopher should
have propounded a trinitarian doctrine, for the Bible did not.
Then consider the "history" of the Trinity. The first
century passes and no mention is found. In the second century
the word Trinity is introduced by Theophilus, A.D. 169 -- but
he did not apply this to God, to Jesus Christ, and to the Holy
Ghost, but to the Attributes of God. Neither Tertullian (A.D.
192), nor Clement (A.D. 215), nor Origen (A.D. 230), were trinitarians.
Origen writes: "The Father is alone God, and greater than
him who was sent." By the time the fourth century is reached
trinitarian doctrines are in the ascendant and to oppose Arius
(Presbyter of a church in Alexandria A.D. 320), who attacked
these doctrines, the Council of Nicea was convened by Constantine,
There, not without much disputation and then only by a majority
vote, was the nucleus of the famous Nicene Creed formulated.
But the Council of Nicea mentioned the Holy Ghost in general
terms only, not stating any relationship with God nor demanding
any appropriate worship; so the Council of Constantinople (A.D.
381) and, later, the Council of Toledo (A.D. 589), supplied these
"deficiences" and commanded a belief in the Holy Ghost
"who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped
and glorified." We ask you to judge whether or not this
doctrine, if it had been a Bible doctrine, would have taken nearly
six centuries to evolve!
This has been no idle digression -- this refutation of the Trinity
as a Bible doctrine. Its acceptance nullifies the plan and purpose
of God, one aspect of which is expressed in the statement of
Paul: "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh
and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that
through death he might destroy him that had the power of death,
that is, the devil." (Heb. 2:14) If Christ were "very
God" -- consubstantial with the Father -- how could he truly
die? Yet this was essential in order that he might destroy death
-- the ultimate triumph in God's plan. How could he be tempted
in all points like as we are? Yet this was necessary also, for
only by a true victory over real temptation could he manifest
his perfect obedience to the Father, be found without sin, and
thus destroy in himself that which had the power of eternal death.
Because he did not sin "death could not hold him."
"THE MYSTERY OF
This purpose of God -- to destroy death in the earth -- is also
enunciated in God's revelation of Himself. The apostle Paul calls
it the mystery of godliness -- "great is the mystery of
godliness." It may prove to be a new doctrine to you --
it is not to be found in the tenets of any of the names and denominations
of Christendom. It is nevertheless found in the Scriptures and
is revealed that we may truly know "thee, the only true
God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent" (John 17:3).
When God revealed Himself to Israel. He did so by a "memorial
name" which carried a meaning. It was a name by which He
would be known (Exod. 3:13-14) and it was a name which indicated
a purpose. God said, "I will be who I will be" (Rev.
Version) thereby affirming that He would be manifested in whom
He would. A manifestation of God was not unknown to Moses or
to Israel. Moses had witnessed in the desert the bush that burned
with fire and was not consumed and had learned that he stood
in the presence of an angel of the Lord -- one of those ministering
spirits "that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice
of his word" (Psalm 103:20; 104:4) These are possessors
of the divine, or incorruptible, nature; for Jesus testifies
"they die no more." In them God has been pleased to
manifest Himself. They are mighty ones, or "Elohim,"
and as such obeyed God's behest to prepare the earth for man.
It was these, "the morning stars who sang together and all
the sons of God who shouted for joy " (Job 38:7) when the
foundations of the earth were laid, who said: "Let us make
man in our image"; and so "in the image of God (the
Elohim.) created he him" (Gen. 1:26, 27).
It will be at once apparent that these were not the manifestations
of God foretold in the memorial name. The latter were to be selected
from the Adamic race and primarily from the nation of Israel.
We are not left without guidance in this matter. Paul declares
that Jesus was "the beginning, the firstborn from the dead"
(Col. 1:18), and Jesus testifies of himself after his death and
resurrection, "I am he that liveth and was dead, and behold
I am alive for evermore" (Rev. 1:18). The divine, incorruptible,
immortal nature has been given to him. God is manifested in him
-- the first from among those of Adamic race. But the purpose
indicated in the memorial name is not thereby completed. It is
written: "Christ the firstfruits, afterward they that are
Christ's at his coming" (1 Cor. 15:23). Others too will
receive this gift of immortality-"to them who by patient
continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality
(God will render) eternal life" (Rom. 2:7) -- and thus they
will be manifestations of Deity. They are symbolised in the Revelation
by 144,000 virgins "which are redeemed from the earth"
(ch. 14:3), who "hunger no more, neither thirst any more;
neither shall the sun light on them nor any heat. For the Lamb
which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall
lead them unto living fountains of waters; and God shall wipe
away all tears from their eyes" (Rev. 7:16-17). Thus will
God be manifested in those in whom He will be manifested and
the purpose indicated in the memorial name will be accomplished.
WHICH THEORY DO YOU
We have already stated that we believe Genesis 1 as we believe
Revelation 22. In thus believing the creation record we believe
that man was the result of a definite act of creation and not
of an evolutionary process. This we know may sound both old fashioned
and unscientific. We may be dubbed "fundamentalists"
in scorn and derision. We are prepared to be so called, for both
Jesus and Paul were fundamentalists. Jesus said: "Have ye
not read that he which made them at the beginning made them male
and female" (Matt. 19:4). Will our Trinitarian friends who
hold that Jesus is Very God now say he was mistaken? Paul said:
"The first man Adam was made a living soul . . . the first
man is of the earth, earthy" (1 Cor. 15:45, 47). Did Paul
err in thus testifying to the record in Genesis wherein it is
stated that "the Lord God formed man of the dust of the
ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and
man became a living soul"? (Gen. 2:7). Before asserting
that he did err, let us ask those who believe in the theory of
Evolution a question. Which theory of evolution do you believe?
For you must know that there are many theories. Perhaps you have
heard that Darwin's hypotheses (not proofs) of "natural
selection" and "sexual selection" are in reality
no explanation at all (Evolution -- Prof. MacBride, p. 19), and
therefore have turned to one of the more recent theories. You
may have heard of the "Mutation Theory" of Dr. Vries,
and that "there are insuperable objections to this theory"
(ibid, p. 25), and so you may follow Weismann, for "Weismann's
work is popularly supposed to be conclusive" (ibid, p. 50).
But Weismann's theory was experimentally tested, and with this
result: "Weismann's theory therefore fails at all points
where it is experimentally tested" (ibid, p. 59). It would
be possible to extend considerably this list of theories, but
these will suffice to give point to our question, "Which
theory do you believe?"
What, then, are the grounds for belief in this theory of evolution
so widely accepted today? Though it is not really our duty to
set them out -- that surely is the task of those who hold the
theory -- yet we will do so very briefly in order to comment
upon them. The theory is based upon seven fundamentals, together
with some experimental evidence and the findings of anthropology.
We will state each of the fundamentals and then add a comment
by an eminent scientist.
1. Comparative Anatomy. Nature abounds in examples of a progression
from simple to complex forms of life. It is argued that these
illustrate a process of evolution which can be applied to the
evolution of man. But the late Professor William Bateson, of
Cambridge University, says: ("every theory of evolution
must be such as to accord with the facts of physics and chemistry,
a primary necessity to which our predecessors paid small heed"
-- and most scientists agree that the universe is in process
of devolution and not evolution. The theory of ascent from lower
to higher forms is contrary to this fact and not in "accord
with the facts of physics and chemistry."
2. Embryonic Recapitulation. This theory is based on the hypothesis
that every species during its gestation period passes through
its evolutionary history. It is stated by those who advance the
theory that the embryos of mammals resemble in turn the fish
and the amphibian. But Professor Waldo Shurnway, of Illinois
University, says: "There is never a time in the history
of the mammal when it could be taken for a fish or a reptile."
(Introduction to Vertebrate Embryology -- 1942), and Professor
Adam Sedgwick, of Cambridge, writes: "It must therefore
be admitted that one outcome of the progress of embryological
and palaeontological research for the last fifty years is negative.
The recapitulation theory originated as a deduction from the
evolution theory and as a deduction it still remains." (Darwin
and Modern Science -- 1909). Instead, then, of proving evolution,
it is a deduction from the theory to be proved.
3. The Geological Record. The rocks of the earth contain fossils
of living creatures of former ages. If evolution is true, then
there should be fossils of many, if not all of the stages of
the development of the different species. We should be able,
for example, to trace the development of such a peculiar species
as the kangaroo. Darwin confidently predicted that the rocks
would yield fossils of half-formed men and whales. Though they
have yielded 100,000 different species of fossils, they have
given no such record. The record of the rocks runs counter to
the claim of the evolutionist. Fossils commence abruptly in the
rocks of the Cambrian period, and there they commence in great
variety. In the rocks below there are none -- and yet in many
places those rocks have not been altered nor disturbed, for they
bear the imprint of ripple marks of waves and could equally well
have preserved the print of animal forms and have been the home
of fossils. So Dr. Austen Clark, of the United States National
Museum, states: "The complete absence of any intermediate
forms between the major groups of animals . . . brought out by
the study of zoology has hitherto been overlooked, or at least
ignored." (The New Evolution Zoogenesis -- 1930).
4. Blood Precipitation Tests. About thirty years ago tests of
the blood serum of different species were made by Dr. George
Nutall, of Cambridge University. From a close similarity in some
of these it was assumed that confirmation was found for the theory
of evolution. But the
primary factors of heredity do not lie in the blood serum but
in the germ cells.
And what are the facts of blood relationship as shown by blood
transfusion? The blood serum of a rabbit may be injected into
man without harm, whilst that of an ox would be very dangerous.
Yet the evolutionist places the ox nearer to man than the rabbit.
5. Vestigial Organs. At one time it was stated that about 150
structures found in man and in the higher forms of life were
remains of organs once required by ancestral forms. But the passage
of time has shown that the greater number are very necessary
and some essential to life, so that the number of so-called unnecessary
structures has already diminished to about half a dozen. Speaking
of one of them, the appendix, Prof. W. E. Le Gros Clark, of Oxford,
writes: "The significance of the vermiform. appendix is
still obscure, but in view of its rich blood supply it is almost
certainly correct to regard it as a specialized and not a degenerate
organ." (Early Forerunners of Man -- 1934). It might be
noted that monkeys have no appendix, and from the above remarks
it would certainly appear that no structure of the human body
may be accounted useless, nor do they afford any proof of an
6. Experimental Evidence. In the fields of botany and zoology
scientists have conducted experiments with the object of producing,
if possible, new species. They have brought into being hundreds
of variations -- the effect of the alteration of existing characteristics
-- but no new species. Many of the variations show less vigour
and resistance, and many have organisms which function less satisfactorily
than in the originals, so that the late President of Wand Stanford
University writes: "None of the created 'new species' (his
inverted commas) of plant or animal I know of would last five
years in the open, nor is there the slightest evidence that any
new species of field or forest or ocean ever originated from
mutation, discontinuous variation, or hybridization." (D.
S. Jordan Science -- 1922).
There does indeed seem to be an extraordinary stability of species,
having each a "sphere of variation," but a sphere which
is constant and non interacting.
7. Anthropology. The fact that evolutionists are constantly hoping
to find fossilized skeletons of "missing links" has
caused much attention to be paid to fragments of skeletons found
in various parts of the world. Each "find" was proclaimed
to be a missing link and scientists vied with each other in reconstructing
the elusive creature. The results were entertaining -- but most
conjectural and therefore unscientific. The classic reconstruction
was that from the molar tooth found in Nebraska. Claimed to be
the tooth of an ape-man (Hesperopithecus) and reconstructed into
such a creature, it proved eventually to be the tooth of a pig
(or peccary). How scientists have quarrelled over the cranial
capacity of these reconstructed ape-men! How they have ignored
the evidence of those fossil human skulls found at Calaveras
in N. America, and at Castenedolo in Italy, which show that man
has existed throughout the ages, according to geologists' calculations,
without physical change!
And so Dr. Alen Hrdlicka, Curator of the Anthropological Section
of United States National Museum, the only man prior to 1943
who had visited and examined every site of an anthropological
find of importance in the world writes: "Of speculations
there have been indeed enough, but most of them so far have led
not into the sunlight but rather into a dark blind alley"
(Skeletal remains of Early Man, 1930); and Professor Hooton,
of Harvard University writes: "Some anatomists model reconstructions
of fossil skulls by building up the soft parts of the head and
face . . . put not your trust in reconstructions." (Up from
the Ape, 1931).
Yes! "Put not your trust in princes nor in the son of man
in whom there is no help." (Psalm 146:3). How can one trust
the speculations of men upon the origin of man when enunciated
in so many contradictory theories! Then wherein shall we find
the truth of the matter? Did not Christ say: "Thy word is
Truth" (John 17:17)? And have not the preceding chapters
of this book amply demonstrated it?
THE BIBLICAL ORDER
The word of God sets forth an order of creation. Is it an order
likely to be given by the philosophy and pride of man? Would
man (nearly four thousand years ago) have placed the creation
of man last? Would man of that age have spoken of the creation
of light before the creation of sun, moon and stars? Consider
the possible number of ways in which the order of creation could
be given and then marvel at the fact that nearly 2,000 years
B.C. an order was described which accords with the findings of
modern science. The modern scientist will speak of the infiltration
of light upon this globe through the envelope of thick cloud;
of the lightening and lifting of this cloud upon an atmosphere;
of the vigorous growth of plant life in this heated and steamy
atmosphere; of the dissipation of the cloud layer so that the
source of light could be observed; of the appearance of life
first in the waters, then in the air, and finally upon the land.
And this is how Moses was caused to write; it is the order of
creation which he records.
The creation of man is given in greater detail. It is written:
"And the Lord God formed
man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils
the breath of life; and man became a living soul." (Gen.
A dust-formed body was quickened
and became a breathing and living creature -- no more, nor less,
in this respect than the beasts of the field, for they, too,
were living creatures, or souls (Hebrew, nephesh chaiyah -- Cp.
Gen. 2:7; 2:19; 7:21-22).
These two Hebrew words are used when the record speaks of the
creation "of every living creature that moveth, which the
waters brought forth abundantly after their kind and every winged
fowl after his kind," (Gen. 1:21) Nor did man obtain a pre-eminence
over the rest of creation by virtue of having had "breathed
into his nostrils the breath of life," for the same record
contains also this statement: "And all flesh died that moved
upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and
of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth and every
man: all in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that
was in the dry land, died." (Gen. 7:21-22.) It is Solomon
who proclaims by inspiration;
"That which befalleth
the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them:
as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one
breath, so that a man hath no pre-eminence above a beast: for
all is vanity. "All go unto one place; all are of the dust,
and all turn to dust again." (Eccles. 3:19-20.)
THE DOCTRINE OF THE SOUL
Now we have set forth this teaching concerning the creation of
man in some detail because it is a foundation doctrine. An understanding
and belief of it makes possible an understanding of God's plan
of salvation. It will have been noticed that in this teaching
is found no mention of the possession by man of an immortal soul
-- no inherent immortality. It stated only that man became a
living creature. It neither stated nor implied that man possessed
an ever-living essence, a never-dying soul; nor is it enunciated
elsewhere in the Scriptures.
As we have seen, the word 'soul' itself indicates a living creature,
and throughout the Bible it is used to express either this or
the attributes of creatures living. It is therefore not inconsistent
to speak of a soul being subject to death, as it does in Ezekiel
18: 4: "the soul that sinneth it shall die;" and in
Acts 3:23: "... every soul . . . shall be destroyed from
among the people." Of the 754 places in the Old Testament
when the word occurs it is said to be subject to death or liable
to death 652 times, and of the 106 places in the New Testament
where the equivalent Greek word "psuche" occurs it
is said to be subject or liable to death 90 times.
Since the word soul of itself carries with it no implication
of immortality it must be qualified by such words as "ever
living," "never dying," "immortal,"
to support any such contention. NOT ONCE are these qualifying
words attached to it. A reference to a concordance will show
that the word immortal occurs in the Bible once only, and then
in reference to God (1 Tim. 1:17) and immortality is said to
be possessed only by God (1 Tim. 6:16) to have been, brought
to light by the Gospel (2 Tim. 1:10) and to be bestowed as a
gift and reward upon the righteous (1 Cor. 15:53, 54; Rom. 2:7).
If man does possess such an immortal soul then Christ did not
bring immortality to light, for Egyptians, Babylonians and Greeks
believed in it centuries before; nor could it be said to be possessed
only by God; nor could it possibly be a gift.
The closer one studies the doctrine of an inherently immortal
soul the more one can detect the signs of its human origin. On
the one hand such a soul is claimed to be unaffected by the frailties
and disabilities of the physical body, not dependent upon the
organic life of that body, an essence in every way superior to
and independent of a physical structure; whilst on the other
hand it is stated to be capable of experiencing exquisite torture
in hell fires, of suffering an unsatiated hunger, of thirsting
an unassuageable thirst. How like this mortality is this supposed
immortality! And what a cohort of doctrines it has brought in
its train! An infant of a few hours or days must be sprinkled
with water and have pronounced over it a formula to save its
so-called immortal soul from hell. Has the water, "holy"
or otherwise any efficacy save that of cleansing a physical body?
Have the words pronounced any magic or charm -- uncomprehended
as they are by the immature subject over whom they are spoken?
Has the officiating priest or minister any power (inherent, delegated
or bestowed) to charm away the forces of the Christian hell?
Ask him to substantiate any such claim, if he be rash enough
to make one, by exorcising the least of human pains, and judge,
by his inability to do so, any claim to have any power over "the
powers of darkness," or any effect upon that superior essence,
the supposed immortal soul!
The doctrines of hell and its fires, of heaven and its golden
harps, of purgatory and its anxious multitudes, of masses sung,
of intercession of saints, all follow logically (but how unscripturally)
from this most pagan of all doctrines -- for pagan it is. Here
is the evidence:
"The Egyptians say that
Ceres (the goddess of corn) and Bacchus (the god of wine), hold
the chief sway in the infernal regions: and the Egyptians also
were the first who asserted the doctrine that the soul of man
was immortal." (Herodotus, Bk. ii, Sec. 123.)
This evidence is multiplied
a thousand times in the museums of the world. The walls of the
tombs of Egypt, the paintings on the sarcophagi, the Book of
the Dead, all subscribe to this doctrine.
And as for being a Christian doctrine, hear what Justin Martyr
wrote as long ago as A.D. 150:
"For if you have conversed
with some that are indeed called Christians, and do not maintain
these opinions, but even dare to blaspheme the God of Abraham,
and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob and say that there
is no resurrection of the dead, but that the souls as soon as
they leave the body are received up into heaven, take care that
you do not look upon these. But I, an all those Christians that
are really orthodox, do know that there will be a resurrection
of the body." (Dialogue with Trypho the Jew, Sect. 80.)
It may be that because some
of these enormities and contradictions are seen and appreciated,
emphasis is some times placed not upon the "soul of man,"
but upon the "spirit of man." The original words used
in the Old Testament (ruach) and the New (pneuma) signify breath,
life, energy, disposition. These are necessary attributes of
living creatures and are possessed in measure by all.
"Thou takest away their
breath (ruach) they die." (Ps. 104:29.)
"Man giveth. up the ghost
(gava=breath) and where is he?" (Job 14:10.)
"Who knoweth whether
the spirit (ruach) of man goeth upward or the spirit (ruach)
of beasts goeth downward to the earth?" (Ecc. 3: 21; R.V.)
To assert the existence of
a never-dying spirit entity for man would entail a never-dying
spirit entity for the beasts. Moreover, if such an entity is
possessed what should be done with it when separated from the
body? In this matter the Christian Evolutionist is sorely pressed.
The Bible says that man and animal possess a spirit of life and
Christendom says this signifies an inherent immortality. As an
evolutionist he must account for it in the evolutionary process.
As a member of Christendom he must therefore ascribe immortality
in some measure to the animals; and as a believer in heaven and
hell (and one cannot believe in one place of abode of departed
spirits without the other) he must find a similar, if not identical,
place for them.
Finally, the doctrine makes of none effect and of no account
the plan and purpose of God. God has never promised heaven to
any man. Christ proclaims that no man hath ascended thereto (John
3: 13). Peter proclaims that David--"a man after God's own
heart" -- had not ascended there (Acts 2:34).
"But the earth hath he
given to the children of men," (Psalm 115:16) and it is
the earth that Christ promised to his disciples in the well-known
words Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth
(Matthew 5:5). It is God's plan that the earth "filled with
His glory," "shall give him pleasure." It is His
purpose that some from among mankind shall receive the gift of
immortality and shall live and reign as "kings and priests
on the earth" (Rev. 5:10).
When God through the agency
of the angels (Elohim, or mighty ones) created man (Gen. 1:26)
and from him formed woman they were pronounced "very good".
In respect of their physical creation this was so, but no similar
statement could be made concerning their characters. They had
not been tested, and when a test was applied they failed. They
disobeyed, they transgressed, they sinned "for sin is the
transgression of the law" (1 John 3:4). They had been warned
that failure to obey would bring death, and from the time of
their fall this began to operate in their members. So it is written:
"By one man sin entered
into the world and death by sin; and so death passed upon all
men, for that all have sinned." (Rom. 5:12.)
Exactly contrary to human speculations and philosophies, the
Scriptures set forth man as an erring and dying creature:
"What man is he that
liveth and shall not see death?" (Psalm 89:48). And by death
the Scriptures mean the complete cessation of being.
"In death there is no
remembrance of thee, in the grave who shall give thee thanks."
"There is no work, nor
device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave, whither thou
goest." (Ecc. 9:10.)
Because of the fall man finds
himself in the position of requiring salvation, and the Bible
is the only source of knowledge of God's plan for giving this.
"Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning
the work of my hands command ye me" (Isa. 45:11). "I
have even from the beginning declared it to thee, before it came
to pass I showed it thee " (Isa. 48:5).
Yes! at the very beginning -- at the time of the transgression
in Eden -- an indication of this plan was given. The promise
of God to the woman that she should bear children brought with
it an indication that from these should arise one -- the seed
of the woman -- who should by his perfection of character gain
the victory over that which caused sin the promptings of the
In the record in Genesis a conflict between the seed of the woman
and the seed of the serpent is outlined with a consequent bruising
in each case:
"I will put enmity between
thee (the serpent) and the woman, and between thy seed and her
seed; it shall bruise thy head and thou shalt bruise his heel."
It is necessary for an understanding
of the covenant in Eden that we consider for a moment this term
"seed of the serpent" and other terms associated with
it. It will probably be easiest if we take a passage from the
last book of the Bible first. In chapter 20 of the Revelation,
verse 2, we read: "And he laid hold on the dragon, that
old serpent, which is the Devil and Satan, and bound him a thousand
years." Now the Revelation is a book of sign (ch. 1, verse
1) and these terms are used symbolically -- as indeed they are
in many parts of the Scriptures. We quote the verse, however,
to place before the reader the association of the terms -- "that
old serpent, which is the Devil and Satan," and we do so
in order that we may fully understand the term "seed of
MEANING OF "DEVIL"
What is the Bible "Devil" and "Satan"? Do
they bear any relation to the Devil and Satan of Christendom
-- an evil monster who for ages has tempted men and lured them
from the paths of righteousness, or, as some aver, a fallen angel
who would seem to be more successful even than God in taking
the "souls" of men?
For answer, we would point out in the first instance that these
are Bible words and that, therefore, they should be interpreted
by and understood in connection with the Bible; they should not
be associated with Teutonic or any other mythology. In the second
instance we would point out that the words "Devil"
and "Satan" are untranslated words -- they have been
transferred to our English Version and used in many cases as
if they were proper nouns. This action may be understood when
we remember that the English Versions were made from the time
of Wycliffe (1382) to the time of the Authorised Version (1611),
when the idea of the existence of evil spirits and of the arch
fiend was widely and firmly held; but it does not help in understanding
the Bible terms.
The word Satan is from the Hebrew through the Greek Satanas,
and means a hater, an accuser, an adversary. The word is so translated
in many places in our English Bible and should be so understood
in all others. Let us take some interesting instances of this
use in both Old and New Testaments. In the Old Testament we find
that when Balaam decided -- against the warnings of God -- to
go to Balak, the way was blocked by an angel of God. It is recorded
in Numbers 22:22, in the words " . . . and the angel of
the Lord stood in the way for an adversary against him,"
and in this case the translators rendered the word Satanas by
the word "adversary." It no doubt seemed inconceivable
to them, and incompatible with their doctrines, that an angel
of the Lord should be satan. There is no difficulty at all in
the matter if the Bible doctrine is accepted. Anything, anyone,
who is an adversary or an accuser is a satan. This is why Peter
is so styled by Christ. In the New Testament, in Matt. 16, we
have the record of the incident when he resisted the testimony
of Jesus concerning his death at Jerusalem and the rebuke administered
to him by Christ: "Get thee behind me Satan; thou art an
offence unto me."
When the civil power became an adversary to the disciples and
apostles and persecuted and hindered them it constituted a satan.
The apostle Paul refers to such an adversary when writing to
the Thessalonians (1 Thes. 2:18) to explain that he had been
hindered in coming to them. It is for the same reason that Jesus
addressed the ecclesia at Pergamos as those who dwelt "where
Satan's seat is" (Rev. 2:13). We do not know whether those
who believe in an all powerful arch-fiend appoint to him any
particular place of residence other than "hell," yet
they must find one for him, for he certainly is not the overseer
of the Bible "hell." The keys of hell and of death
are held by "the Son of man . . . he that liveth and was
dead" and is "alive for evermore" (Rev. 1:13,
18); that is, by Jesus Christ (Rev. 1:1). Yet if he exists he
must have some place of residence. Perhaps those who believe
in this personal Satan might direct their attention to Pergamos
in Asia Minor. For ourselves the matter presents no difficulty.
Pergamos had become under the Attalic kings the most splendid
city in Asia -- a city of temples devoted to a sensuous worship.
Here also existed a great altar to Zeus. The Romans inherited
this splendid dominion, and down to apostolic times Pergamos
remained the centre of Roman administration, and a great pagan
religious centre. Pergamos was indeed the seat of the adversary
to the followers of Jesus, and the Satan in this case was no
other than the civil and religious bodies politic existing there.
The associated term -- the Devil -- is also an untranslated word.
It is an anglicised form of the Greek word diabolos, which means
"a false accuser." Here again anyone who brings or
makes a false accusation is a devil, and here again there are
instances where the translators departed from their usual custom
and translated the word. When Paul gives advice to Timothy concerning
the qualifications of those who should guide the ecclesias of
that time he says: "Even so must their wives be grave, not
slanderers, sober, faithful in all things" (1 Tim. 3:11).
The word translated "slanderers" is diabolos, and to
be consistent the translators should have written: "Even
so must their wives be grave, not devils . . ." If the reader
of the Scriptures bears in mind the fact that anyone who slanders
or falsely accuses is a devil, there is no harm in retaining
the word untranslated, but to make this word to mean the "tempter
of mankind, enemy of God, superhuman malignant being" (Oxford
Dictionary) is neither a true interpretation nor agreeable to
PROMPTINGS OF THE FLESH
What is really our great enemy, whereby we do contrary to God's
command, whereby we sin against our neighbour? The apostle Paul
declared that "in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no
good thing" (Rom. 7:18), so that "when I would do good
evil is present with me" (Rom. 7:21). James shows the operation
of this evil propensity. He says:
"Every man is tempted
when he is drawn away of his own lust and enticed. Then when
lust hath conceived it bringeth forth sin, and sin when it is
finished bringeth forth death." (James 1:14-15.)
It is, therefore, logical
to regard these promptings of the natural mind, these fleshly
lusts or desires, as the great enemy, the adversary, the false
accuser or slanderer of those things that are good. These constitute
the Bible Satan or Devil, whether in personal, political, civil,
or religious manifestation. Therefore the Bible sets forth these
as having the power of death, for they bring sin and sin brings
death. It proclaims that the devil has the power of death and
"was made a little lower
than the angels for the suffering of death . . . Forasmuch, then,
as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself
likewise took part of the same, that through death he might destroy
him that had the power of death, that is, the devil." (Hebrews
How difficult it must be for
Christendom to reconcile the belief in a "superhuman malignant
being" with the teaching of the Scriptures that Christ was
made like us, so that he could taste death and by death destroy
this devil. The association of ideas is not only illogical; it
Because Christ was of our nature it was possible for him to die.
But when he died it was not a sentence passed upon him because
of sin. With us it is: "death passed upon all men for that
all have sinned." Of Jesus, however, it is written that
"he did no sin," and therefore he "tasted death,"
for God "loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible
that he should be holden of it" (Acts 2:24).
Can the diabolos or the satanas of the Bible, the evil propensity
of the flesh, have power over such? No, it was through death
that Jesus destroyed in himself "him that had the power
of death", and thereby became "the resurrection and
the life," "the author of eternal salvation unto all
them that obey him" (Heb. 5:9).
Does this not show once more how unscriptural and illogical are
Christendom's doctrines of immortal soulism, of heaven-going,
of purgatory, of hell, of the Devil and of Satan? Does it not
show how logical the Scriptural doctrines are -- that man fell
through disobedience; that apart from the plan of redemption
there was no escape from eternal death; that in due time God
sent His son "made of a woman"; that through his obedience
the enmity in him was conquered and a way opened for a multitude
who believe in him and obey him to escape from this mortality
by a resurrection from the dead; that he will return to this
earth to awaken those that sleep in the dust and gather them,
together with those who "are alive and remain", to
his judgment seat, there to reward every man as his works shall
be; that then will "that old serpent, the devil and satan"
be bound, or restrained, by reason of the righteous reign of
Christ and those accepted by him; and that finally the last enemy,
death, shall be destroyed (1 Cor. 15:26; Rev. 20:13, 14; 21:4)?
Because death will be destroyed the Bible "hell" will
exist no more, for the hell of the Bible is merely a covered
place, a pit, the grave, the place of the dead. With it is associated
no excruciating torture. It is true that Christ speaks of certain
ones being cast "into hell, into the fire that never shall
be quenched." The word "hell" here is a translation
of the word Gehenna, and Gehenna was the valley of Hinnom, the
place outside Jerusalem where the bodies of criminals were cast,
together with the waste of the city, and where fires were continually
burning to consume the refuse. Did Christ mean that those who
offended should be cast here? He is clearly using it as a figure,
signifying thereby utter destruction: the destroying agents,
worm and fire, continuing their work so long as there remained
anything to be destroyed. This is the work of the grave, and
all mankind are and will be subject to it apart from the salvation
offered through the Scriptures. This is the reward of the wicked:
" . . . death shall feed on them . . . and their beauty
shall consume in the grave, for it is a habitation to every one
of them" (Ps. 49: 14 margin). This is the reward of those
found unworthy by Christ at his judgment seat. To them is given
no gift of life eternal, so that in due time they pass a second
time into the grave (styled the second death -- Rev. 20:6) and
are punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of
the Lord (2 Thess. 1:9).
THE COVENANT WITH ABRAHAM
From what we have written it will be clear that the plan and
purpose of God concerning man and this world was not completed
by the death of Christ, neither was the work of Christ completed.
Christendom errs in assuming that this was so, and in this assumption
they ignore or overlook two other great promises God made in
His Word to mankind. What place in the doctrines of Christendom
does "the holy covenant, the oath which he sware to our
father Abraham" hold? It is true that many recite these
words (found in Luke 1:72-73), but how many could explain their
meaning? The covenant to Abraham was made when at the age, of
seventy-five he left Haran at the invitation of God to go to
a land which God would show him. This is the covenant:
"And I will make of thee
a great nation, and I will bless thee and make thy name great:
and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless
thee and curse him that curseth thee, and in thee shall all families
of the earth be blessed." (Gen. 12:2-3.)
"And the Lord said unto Abraham ... Lift up now thine eyes
and look from the place where thou art, northward, and southward,
and eastward, and westward: for all the land which thou seest,
to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever." (Gen.
It is a covenant which has
never been fulfilled --
"And God gave him (Abraham)
none inheritance in it, no, not so much as to set his foot on,
yet he promised that he would give it to him for a possession,
and to his seed after him, when as yet he had no child."
Nor can it be fulfilled apart
from the further work of Christ. It is a work which he will perform
when he returns to this earth according to his promise --
"If I go . . . I will
come again." (John 14:3)
and the promise of the angels
who witnessed his ascension --
"This same Jesus . .
. shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven."
Then will the dead who "sleep
in the dust hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear
shall live" (John 5:25). Then will Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,
"heirs with him of the same promise" (Heb. 11:9) be
raised and rewarded with that change of nature, the gift of immortality,
and an eternal inheritance in the Kingdom of God.
Though the promise -- "ye shall see Abraham, Isaac, and
Jacob in the Kingdom of God " -- has not yet been fulfilled
it does not make it of none effect. On the contrary, it makes
the future bright with expectation. The future yet contains the
further unfolding of the divine purpose when Jesus Christ --
"the son of Abraham" -- shall return
"to perform the mercy
promised to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant: the
oath which he sware to our father Abraham." (Luke 1:72-73)
Now in the same place of Scripture
the birth of Christ is associated with yet another covenant.
It is one recorded in the Old Testament, and like that made with
Abraham is still unfulfilled. Concerning it Zacharias, the father
of John the Baptist, prophesied:
" . . . the Lord God
of Israel hath visited and redeemed his people, and hath raised
up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David."
The birth of Christ is hailed
as a fulfilment of a promise to David; and this is the promise:
"And when thy days be
fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set
up thy seed after thee . . . I will stablish the throne of his
kingdom for ever . . . and thine house and thy kingdom shall
be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established
for ever." (2 Sam. 7:12-16.)
It is clear that this threefold
promise: the establishment of David's kingdom, its continuance
for ever, and his own participation therein, is contingent upon
resurrection and immortalisation, and this, as we have seen,
is the prerogative of the Son of God. It should, therefore, ocassion
no surprise that this is associated with the birth of Christ.
Does it not explain clearly the meaning of the words:
"He (Jesus) shall be
great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord
God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he
shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom
there shall be no end." (Luke 1:32-33.)
CHRIST TO RETURN
Surprise is occasioned, however, by the fact that Christendom
should regard these promises as no longer of any practical import:
that they are either fulfilled or will not be fulfilled. But
have they been fulfilled? Christ has never reigned upon the throne
of David, nor has the house of Jacob existed as a corporate body
since 722 B.C. They are to be fulfilled when Christ, "the
root and offspring of David," returns to this earth to take
unto himself his great power and to reign (Rev. 11:17); when
"will raise unto David
a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall
execute judgment and justice in the earth."
"In his days Judah shall
be saved and Israel shall dwell safely . . . they shall dwell
in their own land" (Jer. 23:5-8);
when he that was born in "Bethlehem
Ephratah . . . shall come forth to be ruler in Israel" (Micah
5: 2), and when Jerusalem shall shout and rejoice greatly, for
"behold, thy king cometh unto thee" (Zech. 9:9).
The three great covenants -- the covenant in Eden, the covenant
to Abraham and the covenant to David -- thus focus attention
upon the great purpose of God with the earth. They speak of a
great world-wide kingdom to be established by Christ when he
returns to this earth, where in Abraham and David and many others
who had faith in these promises will be blessed.
But the blessing is not confined to those only who are of the
natural seed of Abraham. It is not a tribal or even a national
blessing; it is a blessing for all nations. It is to be universal.
How may this be, and what is the evidence for it?
When God outlined, through Daniel, the historical sequence of
the four great empires of the past which have included in their
domains the land of His choice -- Palestine -- He particularised
concerning the last. He showed, through the vision of the great
image composed of divers metals (Dan, 2:31-32), that the Babylonian
Empire -- "Thou, O King, (Nebuchadnezzar, verse 28) art
a king of kings ... Thou are this head of gold" -- should
be followed by an inferior kingdom (the Medo-Persian), then by
the Greek Empire, and finally by the Roman Empire. This fourth
empire, though "strong as iron" (verse 40) -- and the
Roman Empire exceeded in extent, and in duration, any of the
preceeding empires -- should eventually suffer a change. It should
be divided (verse 41), and in its divided state part should be
strong and part weak; neither should there be cohesion between
the parts. This exactly describes the condition of that part
of the earth formerly ruled from Rome. Europe became a divided
continent with its many nations asserting themselves, one against
another. The history of Europe from that time is a record of
the strong seizing the weak; of the weak forming alliances to
resist the strong. It is a condition which has persisted unto
the present day -- a remarkable proof of the testimony of the
prophets -- of the infallibility of God's word.
GREAT CHANGES COMING
This divided, incohesive condition is not to continue indefinitely.
But the change will not come by man's device. it will come from
God. This vision was given to Nebuchadnezzar and interpreted
by Daniel in order that man might know "what shall be in
the latter days"; that man might understand that God "ruleth
in the kingdom of men and giveth it to whomsoever he will"
(Dan. 4:25); that He "removeth kings and setteth up kings"
(Dan. 2:21). It was given to show that:
"In the days of these
kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never
be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people,
but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms,
and it shall stand for ever." (Dan. 2:44.)
Dynasties will no longer rise
and fall, empires will no longer follow empires, for this kingdom
is universal. And because it is God's Kingdom it will be a kingdom
wherein dwelleth righteousness, wherein is found everlasting
peace. It is written by the prophet Isaiah (chap.9, verse 7):
"Of the increase of his
government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of
David and upon his kingdom, to order it and to establish it with
judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever."
Here we would note not only
the peaceful nature of the kingdom and its long continuance,
but also its association with the throne of David. Let us, therefore,
add to this testimony that of the preceding verse:
"For unto us a child
is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be
upon his shoulder; and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor,
The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."
All who are familiar with
the libretto of "The Messiah" will know that therein
these words are applied to Christ. We agree, and would also add
as corroboration of this the words found in chapter 11 of the
"And there shall come
forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow
out of his roots: and the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon
him . . . with righteousness shall he judge the poor and reprove
with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the
earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips
shall he slay the wicked . . . The wolf also shall dwell with
the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid . . . and
a little child shall lead them . . . They shall not hurt nor
destroy in all my holy mountain, for the earth shall be full
of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea."
This one who comes out of
the stem of Jesse, upon whom the spirit of the Lord rests, who
smites the earth with the rod of his mouth, can be no other than
Jesus. He is the stone, rejected by the builders, which will
break in pieces the kingdoms of men and upon their ruin build
the Kingdom of God (Dan. 2:34-35; 44-45).
CHRIST PREACHED A LITERAL
But was this teaching concerning a literal kingdom upon this
earth the subject matter of Christ's teaching? When "he
went about all Galilee teaching in their synagogues and preaching
the gospel of the kingdom" was this his theme, or did he
not rather preach, "the Kingdom of God is within you"?
The evidence is conclusive that at all times he preached the
first and at no time did he preach the second. Note, for example,
the effect of his teaching upon his disciples and the people.
It is written (Luke 19:11), "And as they heard these things,
he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem,
and because they thought that the Kingdom of God should immediately
This, then, was the response to his teaching: they associated
Jerusalem with the Kingdom of God and looked for its establishment
immediately. Nor did the parable negative this teaching, but
rather confirmed it, for it set forth the nobleman as going away
and after long time returning "having received the kingdom."
But it did teach that this return should not be immediate.
Similar teaching was given when the disciples asked a question
upon this very matter after Christ's ressurrection: "Lord,
wilt thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" (Acts
1:6). In his answer Christ does not deny the fact of the kingdom
nor its association with Israel. What is denied to them is the
exact time for its establishment. Christ himself had given signs
whereby they might know when the Kingdom of God was nigh at hand,
but they had been told that "of that day and that hour knoweth
no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the son,
but the Father" (Mark 13:32). It was future to that time
even as it is to this, and so could not possibly be "within
Still less could the Kingdom of God be within those to whom the
words were addressed. The record in the Gospel of Luke (chapter
17, verse 20) shows that he was replying to the Pharisees, whom
he had described as hypocrites and white-washed sepulchres, and
who should find no place in the kingdom. "Ye shall see Abraham,
Isaac, and Jacob in the Kingdom of God and ye yourselves thrust
out." How then can we understand these words? The alternative
rendering of the original words found in the margin makes it
plain: "The Kingdom of God is among you." And was it
not so? Was not the prospective King there with them -- the one
who, when charged with making a claim to this honour, denied
it not before Pilate, but said: "To this end was I born,
and for this cause came I into the world" (John 18:37)?
Forasmuch then as it had been covenanted to him, and inasmuch
as he had been obedient to the Father in all things and was willing
to obey even to the extent of yielding up his life, the Kingdom
could be given to no other. He, then, was in this sense the Kingdom.
And in due time he should be manifested to be the King of this
Kingdom of God, reigning in its capital (Jerusalem -- Matt. 5,
35), with princes and rulers (the redeemed from among men --
Rev. 5:9), over a people (the nations, Ps. 2:8, Rev. 2:26), and
a territory (the whole world, Ps. 72:8), and bringing all the
world to God (Isa. 2:2-4; Ezek. 40-48).
WHEN WILL IT COME?
"Our Father who art in heaven. Hallowed be thy name. Thy
kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven."
When will the Kingdom come? Man may not know "the day nor
the hour," but he may heed the signs that herald its approach.
The apostle Paul says that these times and seasons should be
"Of the times and seasons,
brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves
know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief
in the night . . . but ye, brethren, are not in darkness that
that day should overtake you as a thief." (1 Thess. 5:1-4).
Of the many signs relative
to these times and seasons which have been given, let us consider
one mentioned by Christ. It was given in reply to a question
which the disciples addressed to him upon this matter. Jesus
"Behold the fig tree,
and all the trees: when they now shoot forth ye see and know
of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. So likewise
ye, when ye see these things come to pass (and he is referring
to signs which he had just given them) know ye that the kingdom
of God is nigh at hand." (Luke 21:29, 31)
In this parable concerning
all the trees why does Jesus separately mention the fig tree?
Is it not because in the Scriptures there is a nation likened
to a fig tree, and one therefore which might be called the fig
tree nation? In the prophecy by Joel we read:
"A nation is come up
upon my land (the land of Israel, chapter 2, verse 1) -- he hath
laid my vine waste and barked my fig tree; he hath made it clean
bare and cast it away" (chapter 1, verses 6, 7).
What was God's vine? Psalm
80 leaves the matter in no doubt, for there Israel is likened
unto a vine brought from Egypt and planted in a new land. And
Israel is the vine and fig tree of Joel's prophecy.
In addition to the symbolic use of trees for nations, the Bible
contains many examples of the state or condition of those nations
being represented by the state or condition of the trees. The
17th chapter of Ezekiel may be cited in this connection. The
kingdoms of Judah, of Egypt, and of Babylon are brought under
review, and the prophet concludes:
"All the trees of the
field shall know that I, the Lord, hath brought down the high
tree, have exalted the low tree, have dried up the green tree,
and have made the dry tree to flourish; I, the Lord, have spoken
and have done it." (Ezek. 17:24.)
It will thus be seen how the
prophet uses the condition of the trees to represent the varying
fortunes of these nations. In the same way, when Christ asks
us to consider the budding of the trees of the parable he is
calling attention, first, to the time aspect of the signs he
has given: just as the budding of the trees heralds summer, so
the fulfilment of the signs heralds the coming kingdom; and second,
to the state or condition of the things symbolised. The budding
of the fig tree indicates a stirring of national life in the
fig tree nation, just as the budding of the other trees indicates
the growth of national consciousness -- a development of modern
RESTORATION OF ISRAEL
For many centuries Israel has been a dry tree. Her nationality
has been submerged beneath that of other nations, her people
scattered and her land a desolation in the hands of strangers.
Yet the last fifty years have witnessed a remarkable quickening
of the national aspirations of the Jews. The movement known as
Zionism has taken hold of Jewry in all countries and they clamour
to be allowed to go back "to their own land." Those
who have gone -- and over 600,000 (In 1962 about 2 million) are
settled there -- have made "the wilderness to blossom as
the rose," exciting the envy and alarm of the Arabs. We
interpret this as a fulfilment of the words of Christ; but lest
it be deemed we build too much upon a single statement we ask
you to read what the prophets have said concerning Israel in
the latter days.
We would especially direct your attention to the 37th chapter
of Ezekiel, where the prophet speaks of a valley full of bones
representing "the whole house of Israel" (v. 11). We
would ask you to note the process of regathering them from among
the nations and their establishment in their land:
"Thus saith the Lord
God: Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the
heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every
side, and bring them into their own land. And I will make them
one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel: and one
king shall be king to them all: . . . and they shall dwell in
the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant: . . . and my
servant David shall be their prince for ever" (vv. 21, 22,
Is not the budding of the
fig tree nation a sign of the nearness of these things -- the
coming of the Son of Man the establishment of the Kingdom of
God? It is Christ who gives the sign. Shall we heed it and be
among those to whom that day does not come as a thief, or shall
we ignore it, reject it, despise it and be taken by it unawares?
This book has been written that you may be enabled to answer
It has set before you the reasons why you should take up the
Bible again and read and study it.
Scientific theories and clerical fables combined with modern
indifference may have caused you to regard it as of no account.
But in this book unproved theories and human fables have been
put to the test, placed side by side with the Scriptures, with
the result, we trust, that you are assured that the latter form
an impregnable rock upon which we can build our hopes.
The history of the nations has proved the truth of Bible prophecy,
an undeniable testimony to the fact that it is the Word of God.
With these assurances we have examined the message the Bible
brings -- God's plan of salvation for man and His purpose with
A FINAL QUESTION
We are brought, then, finally and inevitably to the question:
"WHAT DOES THIS MESSAGE
MEAN TO ME? MAY I PARTAKE OF THIS GREAT SALVATION, AND OF THIS
GLORY WHICH SHALL COVER THE EARTH?"
The answer is quite simply
"Yes," for God "is not willing that any should
perish but that all should come to repentance." (2 Pet.
Yet the act of repentance
involves some effort, some response, on the part of the seeker.
To whom shall he come, from what shall he repent, and what shall
be required of him? "He that cometh to God must believe
that he is and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently
seek him" (Hebrews 11:6).
The searcher can find evidence of God in His handiwork, for "the
heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament showeth his
handiwork," but cannot find there a revelation of God or
His purpose. He must search in God's Word, for this is a lamp
to the feet and a light to the path, inasmuch as "the entrance
of thy word giveth light; it giveth understanding to the simple."
It will give all the knowledge necessary for a firm belief that
God is, and for an understanding of God's revelation of himself.
It will show that, apart from God's plan of redemption, the seeker
will pass into the endless silence of the grave; but it will
also unfold to him the hope and promise of an escape from this
It will show that a means has been provided whereby his former
life maybe covered by a baptism into Christ; that by his complete
immersion in water, by a symbolic death, he publicly confesses
his guilt and figuratively dies, and that after the same symbol
he rises to a newness of life (Rom. 6), having "an advocate
with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous," who shall
be "a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining
to God to make reconciliation for the sins of the people"
The Seeker now stands in the strait and narrow way that leads
to life; he heeds the word of God; he keeps His commandments;
for he believes that God is the "rewarder of them that diligently
seek him." He believes that by so doing he will be numbered
among those who will receive eternal life; that he will stand
among the redeemed who sing: "Thou . . . hast made us unto
our God kings and priests and we shall reign on the earth";
that he will be among those of whom it is said: "They shall
hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun
light on them nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst
of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living
fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their
"Come unto me all ye
that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
"Take my yoke upon you
and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall
find rest unto your souls."
HAVE YOU READ IT?
3 Reasons Why You Should
1. BECAUSE the awful calamities which afflict the world today
demand a reason why man has been unable to achieve ordered progress
and peace on the earth. The failure to appreciate the true nature
of Christian teaching will be found responsible for the misrule
and despotism of Church and State.
2. BECAUSE the object for which Christ came into the world has
been obscured by human ideas concerning the origin, nature and
destiny of man. Immortality is not an inherent possession, but
the gift of God and conditional on faith in the Divine promises
and a willing submission to the law of Christ.
3. BECAUSE it is necessary to know how to escape the fiery judgments
that soon will engulf the world for its continued wickedness
and rebellion against Divine law. The Bible clearly foreshadows
the long period of darkness and evil that soon will usher in
the perfect day of joy and peace.
ASTRAY FROM THE BIBLE
By ROBERT ROBERTS